Dr. John Adrian

1923 ~ 2021 (age 97)


John passed away peacefully on June 28, 2021.  He is survived by Anne, his wife of 61 years, his children, Odette Adrian (Robert Hage), Quentin Adrian (Linda Adrian) and Zoe Adrian (Scott Blair), and his three grandchildren, Isabella Adrian, Vann Adrian-Hage and Annika Adrian-Hage.  He is predeceased by his granddaughter, Maya Adrian-Hage.

Fleeing the terror unleashed by the Russian Revolution, John’s family stepped on to Canadian soil in Quebec City in 1924, when he was one year old.   John grew up in southern Manitoba where he completed elementary school under the tutelage of his father, who was the only teacher in a one-room schoolhouse.  When he was still very young he met Dr. Cornelius Wiebe, a creative and highly revered doctor who was later awarded the Order of Canada. That meeting inspired John to become a doctor.  He was admitted to the inaugural class at UBC's medical school, and, by virtue of the first letter of his his last name he was the first person to receive his degree.  He was a beloved family doctor in Vancouver (he made house calls and always dressed in a suit for his patients) until he was forced to retire due to failing eyesight at the age of 74, after 44 years of providing intergenerational service to his patients.

John was generous and self-effacing, with a steady temperament and positive outlook.  He excelled in many sports, including softball, hockey, skiing, tennis and squash.  During competition his persona changed from the normally considerate, gentle man of everyday life to a formidable opponent with a fiercely competitive streak.  In 1959 he was the starting pitcher of the softball team based in Yarrow (near Chilliwack) that won a BC championship. 

Despite the adversities he endured during his later years, John frequently expressed his gratitude for all that he had received in his life, and in particular, for his family.  To his wife he was an inexhaustible source of unconditional love and steadfast support.  To his children he was always a mentor and a safe refuge at any time of need.  

John was a man of steadfast faith. He lived humbly and in accordance with the following two paramount commandments - to love God, and to love your neighbour as yourself.

A celebration of John’s life will be held in the fall.  Donations may be made in John’s memory to the Mennonite Central Committee Canada or Doctors Without Borders.

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